With personal interactions under scrutiny due to the COVID-19 disruption, it’s a good time for retailers to take stock of their mobile and online commerce capabilities and technologies. Several companies have stepped up this week with some innovative remote solutions.
The first is Perfect. The company produces a virtual reality makeup app, YouCam, and counts beauty salons and health and beauty stores among its client base. It will now extend its augmented reality (AR) training app for free to promote continuity among owners and employees in the business.
The platform allows brands to host live-streamed video trainings where employees around the world can hold interactive training sessions and engage virtual beauty try-ons. Participants viewing the training are also able to interact and experience the AR beauty try-ons, share instant feedback via likes and comments, and ask questions in real time. For example, if Maybelline is introducing a new makeup line, it can debut it without conducting in-person demos at salons or other brick-and-mortar locations.
“The recent expansion of the novel coronavirus on a global scale has prompted companies to take more precautions. Protecting the health of employees has quickly become the highest priority, with remote working arrangements becoming the new norm,” said Alice Chang, CEO and founder of Perfect Corp. “We are committed to providing the technology that can help companies adapt to these pressing changes quickly and efficiently. We’re here to help beauty brands remain productive during this precarious time, by offering complimentary licenses of remote AR live training, making the employee learning process run smoothly.”
Additionally, NewStore, an omnichannel-as-a-service provider, is increasing its efforts to turn any store into an iPhone app. It offers a mobile point of service that unlocks brick-and-mortar sales drivers such as “mobile checkout, clienteling and endless aisle,” noted a press release.
The company announced this week that it has signed high-end fashion retailer Anine Bing. The brand uses Instagram to gather information for product development, to make product announcements and to sell online. It also offers its products in more than 15 corporate-owned stores and 350 boutiques around the world. Anine Bing tapped NewStore to leverage its cloud-based omnichannel order management system and mobile point of service offerings.
Postmates is also stepping up. The delivery company is extending its service by unveiling a pilot program for will waive all commission fees for small businesses not currently on the platform in San Francisco that “want to expand into on-demand delivery to help drive revenue as on-premise dining is impacted,” per reports. Retailers can visit the company’s partner page to start the pilot.
"Operating a storefront in a major city like San Francisco isn't cheap. And if customers are staying home because they're afraid of getting sick, or because their workplaces are asking them to, then brick-and-mortar businesses are really going to suffer," said Laurie Thomas, acting executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, as cited in a press release. "News of Postmates lifting its delivery fees, for the time being, is a compelling example of how delivery platforms can engage with their merchant partners to respond in real time to market changes, and ultimately support the local smaller restaurants who need it."
For larger retailers, software platform ThinkTank is now offering free access to its digital engagement and remote workforce productivity program, which offers programs that enable leaders to supervise remote teams.
"In a world of restricted travel, the ability to drive outcomes and consensus across your distributed stakeholders, versus simply chat with them via video conferencing, is about to become a core necessity for businesses on a global stage. ThinkTank does this," noted GroupSystems CEO Nick Parnaby, as cited in the release.
ThinkTank’s solution offers tools for users to hold brainstorming sessions, host virtual presentations, collect information and gather requirements. Teams can also use data and analytics to discuss and come to decisions on key business topics.